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  1. #1
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    Police on the Gainesville Hawthorne trail.

    Went for a ride on the trial yesterday got dropped off at the Hawthorne end and rode to Gainesville end to get picked back up. Was a great ride, great weather with lots of people out enjoying a Sunday afternoon ride. My sister the one dropping me off and picking me up decided to wait for me at what I call the middle of the trail where it crosses Country Road 234. Before I got there I heard my cell ring in my saddle bag, most times I dont answer it but this time it rang 3 times in a row. So I figured I better answer it, It was my sister calling me from the middle of the trail to say there was a Police officer there standing by the trail in full bike kit (jersey, bike shorts & helmet). Writing tickets to people on bikes who did NOT make a complete stop when crossing CR 234. The officer didn't even have a normal police car, he had one of those public safety cars. I must admit most times when I ride the trail I slow WAY down almost to a stop when crossing 234, but I don't come to a "complete" stop. Its a clear crossing where you can see everything. It is NOT a busy crossing by no means, I would say 1 out of 15 times I have to actually stop because of a car coming. I forgot to mention that the cars have to stop at a stop sign about 50 feet beyond where they cross the trail, so they are going pretty slow as they cross the trail too. Anyway just a heads up to anybody riding the trail.

  2. #2
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    Man, I wonder just how binding such a ticket would be? I mean, is there a size requirement for stop signs that could render any bike trail sign as void? Does the trail sign hold any weight as a traffic violation?

    If the MUP is nothing more than a glorified sidewalk then maybe it could be argued that one could cross the road without the need to stop, if the way is clear, just as any pedestrian would. Did anyone just walk across the street, jog, skate? Were bikes singled out ala racial profiling? I, personally, could not afford to find out by fighting it. But that seems kinda sketchy to me.
    "change is the only constant"

  3. #3
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    let me start by saying that I am guilty of not stopping at all intersections that have stop signs posted. But those signs are placed there for a purpose and that is to save lives. I ride the Seminole Wekiva Trail almost daily and at one intersection that is clearly marked with a stop sign and has only minimal car cross traffic and I do mean minimal, has a small memorial about 10 yards from the crossing that is dedicated to a young female cyclist that failed to stop.
    Yes I would probably complain if I got a ticket for failing to obey a stopsign but deep down I know that it was issued for a purpose. Even though we are on a MUP we are still governed by laws. What say you???

    Jim

  4. #4
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    After reading threads about joeybike running reds in nola and knowing that I roll most stop signs I mostly agree with laws governing etc., however...

    All the same, I think that I was putting forth a reasonable question, Are those signs trully binding?
    I just curious that's all. Really, if pedestrians walk across without stopping then why should a cyclist. How do the RULES OF THE ROAD pertain to the MUP?

    I'm not saying that I'd blow that sign or any other in front of a cop. But, if I did roll through such a sign and got a ticket could it really be for running a stop sign, failure to come to a complete stop, or j walking?

    Just the thoughts that escape from my head.
    "change is the only constant"

  5. #5
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    You make some valid points and I am in the same position that you mention in your first post. I have neither the time or resources to find if it would hold in a court of law.

  6. #6
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    Maybe a question to put to the florida bicycle association?
    "change is the only constant"

  7. #7
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    I noticed sometime in the past 6 months or so that before you get to the stop sign there is another sign that says something like "its Florida law you must stop at all stop signs" .. then even lists the Florida statute on the sign.

    I almost forgot. At that same intersection a few years ago I just barely avoided a ticket for not stopping. I guess on the way out I kind of just breezed through the stop sign. And then on the way back I again breezed through the stop sign but noticed another rider walking his bike, he had a flat. I stopped and asked if he needed a patch and some air. He said "sure that would be great". So while we were fixing his tire a state cop walks up and says "your lucky your a good samaritan or you would have had yourself a $100 ticket". I was like "ok thanks"...

    I really do understand about stopping and all that. I don't breeze through that stop sign any more, I haven't in a few years now. If I slowed down any more at that stop sign I would fall over (because I cant balance on the pedals LOL).

  8. #8
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    Alright, I wonder if my pics from jax-baldwin have any of those signs.

    Would you try to get that statute next time you're out that way if you remember, I'm curious.

    I was also remembering seeing speed limit 20mph on the jax-baldwin trail when I rode that. I wonder how they would clock you on that one, does a bike show on radar I guess they could, but what sort of violation would that be? A moving violation for speeding on a MUP?

    I know I broke 20 a few times on that day.
    "change is the only constant"

  9. #9
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    "Would you try to get that statute next time you're out that way if you remember, I'm curious." ....

    Just the excuse I need to go ride the trail some more .. I'll most likely make it out there again in the next few days, when I do i'll take a few pictures.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the radar would pick up a bike unless an auto was close.

    Ever ride by one of those automated "Your Speed Is: xx" trailer things that can moved around from location to location? Those always pick me up and report my speed back to me when I happen to ride by one.

  11. #11
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droobieinop View Post
    Alright, I wonder if my pics from jax-baldwin have any of those signs.

    Would you try to get that statute next time you're out that way if you remember, I'm curious.

    I was also remembering seeing speed limit 20mph on the jax-baldwin trail when I rode that. I wonder how they would clock you on that one, does a bike show on radar I guess they could, but what sort of violation would that be? A moving violation for speeding on a MUP?

    I know I broke 20 a few times on that day.
    I think radar can pick up a bike, my daughter and I were out the other day and we road by one of the big orange trailers that that the traffic dept. sets up to notify you of your speed. I am not sure how that works but it picked up our speed at 14 mph. I thought that was pretty amusing

    Jim

  12. #12
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    No, but I did ride up my home stretch hill past a shaded speed trap and joked with the leos asking that "I wasn't going too fast was I?" and he said I was doing 12 mph. So whether he was joking or not, or where he might have clocked me?

    Anyway, hit the trail again and let's see what we get.
    "change is the only constant"

  13. #13
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    Went to the G.ville Hawthorne trail today, didn't ride the paved part instead took my mountain bike and rode some of the dirt trails off of the main paved trail. Anyway no sign of the police today. Ended up riding for about an hour and six minutes (my goal for now). Snapped a pic of the sign with the Florida statute posted on it (with the stop sign in the background). Just in case I messed up trying to add a picture here is what the sign says... "Stop ahead.. F.S. 316.123"


  14. #14
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    Good work. Here is a link to the Florida Statute http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/ind...316/Sec123.HTM

    I attempted to ask a CCSO deputy about this and he really seemed like he didn't know, but insisted that he wouldn't not stop for such a sign and that even though the bike path/MUP/Rail Trail etc is not a roadway the traffic laws applied.

    I was thinking that perhaps this sign more applies to the intersection and not the MUP. I'm still not sure about how binding that sign really is. Like the speed limit sign, it might be unsafe to go 20+mph on the MUP, but as to a traffic violation on a designated bike trail/MUP?

    Maybe someone is in law enforcement or is a lawyer and could try to clarify this for us?
    "change is the only constant"

  15. #15
    Look! My Spine! RubenX's Avatar
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    In my hometown, that same night the sign would disappear...

    "What sign are you talking about officer?"

  16. #16
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    Yeah, I can'y go with that, but maybe a large, well timed, organized ride at 20+mph blowing the sign while freinds stop traffic by driving cars and stopping shy of the said intersection. One cop can't get everyone hehehe...

    I just think that it could be argued that the sign is part of the highway/roadway traffic control and not the bike trail's. That is not to say it doesn't apply anyway.
    "change is the only constant"

  17. #17
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    two questions: was the officer writing tickets to automobiles that did not come to a complete stop as well? and
    if he's standing there, what would happen if you just didn't stop? Most cops on bicycles look like they may be able to sprint to the donut store and that's about it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by duke249 View Post
    two questions: was the officer writing tickets to automobiles that did not come to a complete stop as well? and
    if he's standing there, what would happen if you just didn't stop? Most cops on bicycles look like they may be able to sprint to the donut store and that's about it.
    You know I kind of wondered the same thing if he was giving tickets to cars too. When I got there he wasn't standing out by the trail, he was over at the SUV writing tickets to 4 or 5 riders. When my sister called he was standing out by the trial. So I guess he would stand out there for a bit get some riders, write some tickets and start over again. I'm not sure how long he stayed there writing tickets, picked up a water from my sis and I rode on. And she took off to meet me at the end of the trail.

    I know one thing though..... If I hit the trail Sat (kind of plan too) i'll come to a complete stop... LOL ... Uggg they could get even more sneaky and try one of the other few stop signs on the trail.... DOH!!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    So I just reread your first post, and the LEO was in full cycling gear? Police identifying? Or just the usual kit? I guess it doesn't matter, but it makes me wonder more about his behavior and possible entraptment. I tell you what though, he would have to work to catch me if he wasn't immediately identifiable as a cop. Chase me down at like 25mph and show picture id before I'd stop, I bet my/our (if riding with certain friends) skills are better.

    Did he have flashers and a siren too?

    I've an idea, if you see this again ask him to show you and explain to you the statute and how it applies. I'm not trying to make trouble for anyone, nor am I suggesting that one not stop for said sign. I have read the statute and it appears to apply to highway/roadway, and I didn't find any reference to bike trails.
    "change is the only constant"

  20. #20
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    He had a police bike jersey on, like the ones they were at special events when the cops ride around on bikes. I'm pretty sure that his SUV had lights on it but not for sure. Like I said It looked more like a police public safety vehicle. Didn't look like the usual cop cars from the area. I didn't actually get to see him out by the trial flagging riders down. When I got there he was back by his SUV writing tickets.

    No sign of cops or hardly anybody on the trail today... was kinda weird for a Sat afternoon. Hmmm maybe because U of F was graduating today... dunno

  21. #21
    trois, mon frère JaRow's Avatar
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    I ride the trail a lot and I never stop at that particular intersection unless there is a red neck barreling through. How obvious was the cop? Would I see him standing there? On campus, it's really easy to spot them and fully stop to appease them.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Good bet his performance review was coming up and he needed to increase his productivity score.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  23. #23
    Junior Member justinsmnz's Avatar
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    The trail has actually been quite empty lately. I guess most students are gone now, but still seems like a few more people should be out and about. I from Williston to the end and back on Friday and only passed four people the whole time, strange.

    No cops when I was out either, I have a feeling I would get pretty angry if a cop was doing that with me. Did she say if he was stopping only those that completely blew it off? Or if he was pulling everyone even if they slowed way down (5-10mph)?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinsmnz View Post
    The trail has actually been quite empty lately. I guess most students are gone now, but still seems like a few more people should be out and about. I from Williston to the end and back on Friday and only passed four people the whole time, strange.

    No cops when I was out either, I have a feeling I would get pretty angry if a cop was doing that with me. Did she say if he was stopping only those that completely blew it off? Or if he was pulling everyone even if they slowed way down (5-10mph)?
    I rode the whole trail Saturday, parked in the middle at SR 234 parking area. From Hawthorne to SR 234 there was hardly anybody on the trail. From 234 to G.ville there were lots and lots of people. When I got to Boulware Springs park every parking spot and then some was full. There was some kind of group or club ride that ended there, hmmm all the cars were there so maybe they started there too .... lol.

    I'm not sure if the cop was stopping the riders that slowed way down, i'll have to ask her.

  25. #25
    Senior Member droobieinop's Avatar
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    If there was a club type organized ride going on, was there a cop targeting those riders?

    Or would it be hipocritical for a cop to be out writing tickets one month and then waving bikes and stopping traffic the next?

    Just a thought.
    "change is the only constant"

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